OFFICIAL: Man Utd confirm Pereira to Granada on loan

The Red Devils have reached an agreement with the Spanish side that will see the 20-year-old move to La Liga on a season-long loan deal

Andreas Pereira is to join Granada on a season-long loan deal, Manchester United have announced.

The 20-year-old has struggled to cement his place in United’s first team and made just 13 competitive appearances across two seasons under Louis van Gaal.

Pereira scored in Jose Mourinho’s first pre-season match in charge – a 2-0 win over Wigan Athletic in July – but he has opted to move to LaLiga in order to secure regular playing time.

“Manchester United midfield prospect Andreas Pereira is set for a loan switch to Granada in LaLiga after the two clubs agreed on a season-long transfer,” a United statement confirmed.

Andreas Pereira, dinamismo para la medular nazarí #PereiraNazari

— Granada C.F. (@GranadaCdeF) August 26, 2016

Speaking prior to Saturday’s Premier League clash with Hull City, Mourinho said: “I love Andreas Pereira as a player and I would love to have him in my squad, but he will go to Granada.”

Pereira follows Barcelona midfielder Sergi Samper in completing a loan move to Los Carmenes.

Mourinho: Man Utd handed 'Champions League' group in Europa League draw

The Portuguese boss has likened his side’s pool in Europe’s sister club competition to one that would normally appear in the premier tournament due to its toughness

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has welcomed what he considers to be a difficult draw for the Europa League group stage.

United were pitted against Fenerbahce, Feyenoord and FC Zorya Luhansk in a tough-looking Group A during Friday’s draw in Monaco.

And Mourinho believes the pool is one that would normally appear in the Champions League due to the quality of the teams and feels United fans will relish such games.

“It’s good for us because we think we’re in the Champions League. There are very similar groups in the Champions League,” he said.

“We know it’s difficult but I think it’s good. It’s good for those who maybe weren’t looking forward to Thursday nights at Old Trafford.

“It’s good for the competition, which doesn’t have the glamour of the Champions League, that Manchester United are playing against clubs of the history of Feyenoord and Fenerbahce. It’s big to play in Rotterdam, Istanbul.”

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United travel to Hull City on Saturday looking to preserve their 100 per cent record in competitive matches under Mourinho, who has overseen back-to-back Premier League wins against Bournemouth and Southampton since a 2-1 victory against Leicester City in the Community Shield.

Hull have likewise enjoyed a strong start to the campaign under the stewardship of Mike Phelan, despite significant injury concerns and uncertainty over both the long-term manager and ownership of the club.

Mourinho believes Phelan deserves to be given the role on a permanent basis, regardless of the result at the KC Stadium.

“We had a difficult start with a strange pre-season, players coming in step by step,” he said. “We won the Community Shield and got six points, but more than that, there are good things in the team. We are trying to work, to change. 

“But every point is difficult. Hull City found a way to get points. The manager is very experienced, he knows football well and how to organise a team to get results. 

“I hope he gets the job losing the match. It’s not fair to make a decision if he wins or loses a match. He was one of the most successful assistants in the country, then he was an important right arm to Bruce, and now he has the job.

“Are they defensive? Yes, they are. But that’s how they get points, so he deserves the job.”

Man Utd draw Fenerbahce, Southampton face Inter – Europa League draw in full

Robin van Persie will return to Old Trafford when Fenerbahce take on Jose Mourinho’s men in Group A of Europe’s sister club competition alongside Feyenoord and Zorya Luhansk

Manchester United will face former striker Robin van Persie after being paired with Fenerbahce in the Europa League group stage.

The Red Devils will also face Feyenoord and Ukrainian outfit Zorya Luhansk in Group A.

United sold Van Persie to Turkish side Fenerbahce, who finished second in the Super Lig last season, in July 2015 after three years at Old Trafford.

Southampton, participating in the Europa League for the first time in their history, will take on Serie A giants Inter in Group K.

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Claude Puel’s charges have also been drawn against Sparta Prague and Hapoel Be’er Sheva, who were beaten by Celtic in the Champions League playoff round.

Irish outfit Dundalk have been handed a difficult group against Zenit, AZ Alkmaar and Maccabi Tel-Aviv in Group D.

Matchday one is on September 15 with the final games in the groups staged on December 8.

The full Europa League draw as follows: 

Group A: Manchester United, Fenerbahce, Feyenoord, Zorya

Group B: Olympiacos, APOEL, Young Boys, Astana

Group C: Anderlecht, Saint-Etienne, Mainz, Qabala

Group D: Zenit, AZ Alkmaar, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Dundalk

Group E: Viktoria Plzen, Roma, Austria Vienna, Astra

Group F: Athletic Bilbao, Genk, Rapid Vienna, Sassuolo

Group G: Ajax, Standard Liege, Celta Vigo, Panathinaikos

Group H: Shakhtar Donetsk, Braga, Gent, Konyaspor

Group I: Schalke, RB Salzburg, Kuban Krasnodar, Nice

Group J: Fiorentina, PAOK, Slovan Liberec, Qarabag

Group K: Inter, Sparta Prague, Southampton, Hapoel Be’er Sheva

Group L: Villarreal, Steaua Bucharest, FC Zurich, Osmanlispor

Ibrahimovic aiming to break 91-year-old Manchester United record

The summer arrival has scored against Leicester City, Bournemouth and Southampton and can now match Jimmy Hanson’s record from 1925 if he nets against Hull City

Zlatan Ibrahimovic can match Jimmy Hanson’s record of scoring in his first four competitive games if he nets for Manchester United against Hull City.

The free transfer from Paris Saint-German scored against Leicester City in the Community Shield, followed by Bournemouth and Southampton in the Premier League in his first three games for his new club.

Ibrahimovic is the ninth player to net in his first three games for United, and the first since Ian Storey-Moore in 1971-72, and now has a better feat in his sight.

If Ibrahimovic scores against managerless Hull City on Saturday he will become the first United player since Hanson 91 years ago to score in four consecutive games.

With United in the old Division Two, Hanson scored on his debut, against Hull City in November 1924, before following up with goals against Blackpool and Derby.

A fourth appearance was delayed until the following season, with United having been promoted, with Hanson not deemed strong enough to deal with the physical nature of the game despite his exploits and he finally scored against Aston Villa in September, 1925.

Pique: Guardiola is the perfect manager for Stones

The Spain international has hailed the Manchester City new boy as “England’s best defender” and believes his former Barcelona boss will mould him into a world-class stopper

Gerard Pique believes Pep Guardiola is the perfect mentor to develop John Stones into a world-class defender at Manchester City.

Stones moved to the Etihad Stadium from Everton for a fee in the region of £50 million earlier this month, becoming the most expensive British defender in the process.

The England international’s ability to play out from the back is tailor-made for Guardiola’s style of play, which Pique is fully aware of having played under the Catalan boss at Barcelona.

And Pique, who believes Stones is England’s best defender, believes the 22-year-old will flourish under Guardiola’s stewardship.

“Stones is a great player, the best central defender England have. I like how he plays, it’s a similar style to mine,” Pique told Marca.

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“Pep will help him to a lot to take a lot of risks with the ball. It’s like poker – sometimes, you have to take risks.

“But being in defence, you have to control those risks. I think he’ll do well.”

This season sees two managerial heavyweights go head to head in the Premier League following the arrivals of Guardiola and Jose Mourinho at Manchester City and United respectively.

Pique, who left Old Trafford for Barca in 2008, says his allegiances still lie with his old employers, rather than his former manager.

“Between Pep and United, I go for the latter,” he said. “I had some really good years there and I’ve always considered it as a second home.

“I’ll always be more of a Red Devil, although I have to admit that I follow City fondly because there are people there I know, like Txiki [Begiristain, City director of football], who helped me come to Barcelona, and [Spain] team-mates like [Jesus] Navas and [David] Silva.”